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Muscle Strengthening May Cut Risk for Noncommunicable Disease

Muscle-strengthening activities inversely linked to risks for all-cause mortality, major noncommunicable diseases

TUESDAY, March 1, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Muscle-strengthening activities are associated with lower risks for noncommunicable diseases and all-cause mortality, according to a review published online Feb. 28 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Haruki Momma, Ph.D., from Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine in Sendai, Japan, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies that examined the association between muscle-strengthening activities and health outcomes in adults without severe health conditions. Data were included from 16 studies.

The researchers found that muscle-strengthening activities were associated with a 10 to 17 percent reduced risk for all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease (CVD), total cancer, diabetes, and lung cancer. Muscle-strengthening activities were not associated with the risk for certain site-specific cancers (colon, kidney, bladder, and pancreas). For all-cause mortality, CVD, and total cancer, J-shaped associations were seen, with the maximum risk reduction (about 10 to 20 percent) at about 30 to 60 minutes/week of muscle-strengthening activities; for diabetes, an L-shaped association showed a large risk reduction at up to 60 minutes/week of muscle-strengthening activities. A lower risk for all-cause, CVD, and total cancer mortality was seen in association with combined muscle-strengthening and aerobic activities versus none.

“The combination of muscle-strengthening and aerobic activities may provide a greater benefit for reducing all-cause, CVD and total cancer mortality,” the authors write. “Given that the available data are limited, further studies — such as studies focusing on a more diverse population — are needed to increase the certainty of the evidence.”

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